Dave Ramsey: If You Can’t Pay All Your Bills, Focus On These ‘Four Walls’ First

©Dave Ramsey

Many people have trouble with the basics, but they are often all you need to get yourself out of a financial hole. To set yourself on a path for financial freedom, many experts stress the simple strategy of spending less than you earn and eliminating and avoiding all debt before moving forward with establishing financial stability throughout your life.

But what if you’re having trouble paying all your bills? As Dave Ramsey repeatedly states, if you really want to eliminate something (debt typically), attack it with pinpoint focus. If you are having trouble paying your bills, you have to make an unwavering commitment to pay off your necessities first, or as he calls them, the “Four Walls.”

Posting to X, Ramsey addressed making sure the most important things in your budget are covered:

“If you can’t pay all of your bills and are having a hard time making ends meet, these Four Walls should be what you spend your money on first (and in this order):

  1. Food
  2. Utilities
  3. Shelter
  4. Transportation”

Without changing bad spending and saving behaviors and practicing better self-discipline with your money, you’ll going to be stuck worrying about how to pay your bills forever. In a short video on the same post, Ramsey gets honest with those panicking about how they are going to pay their bills.

“If you’ll get real calm, cool and collected and go, ‘We’re going to eat before we do anything. Not eat out. We’re going to pay the utilities, not cable, before we do anything. We’re going to pay rent.’ And until you clear food, utilities, housing and transportation and get them all current, you don’t spend anything else on anything.”

Investing for Everyone

If you are in financial crisis mode, there should be no room in your budget for anything besides feeding and protecting your family and home. With everything costing more now, that means cutting out discretionary expenses and coming up with ways to spend less on the necessities.

Stretching your money at the grocery store by cutting out wants, using coupons and changing where you shop is a good start. Using less energy and being efficient, living in an apartment or house that is within your means and saving on fuel and transportation where possible will save you money, too.

How often do you order expensive take-out when you can’t afford it? Do you consider a cable package, Prime membership or Disney+ streaming subscription a necessity? Stopping to think about your spending and building a budget to rein it in should give you an “aha” moment of financial clarity.

You don’t necessarily need to learn something new to spur you to action. For those Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, Ramsey’s straightforward solutions might be just what they need to work through financial setbacks. And for those having trouble paying all their bills, focus on the “Four Walls.”

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